Masahiro Tanaka gave up an early unearned run because the Yankees didn't know how to play proper defense, then the offense failed to capitalize on a couple of big scoring chances early on, but by 5 pm, those things didn't matter, as Tanaka locked in, the offense produced late runs, and the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 3-1, on Saturday afternoon at a rain-soaked Yankee Stadium.
Sloppy play helped get the Twins on the board first to open the game, as Brian Dozier kicked off the top of the 1st with a groundball that bounced off of Kelly Johnson's glove at third base for an E5. Dozier then moved to second base on a wild pitch, moved over to third on a groundout, and after Joe Mauer struck out, Josh Willingham singled to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
As you would expect, that unearned run was the only run that Tanaka would let cross the plate for the rest of the game. He worked around an Alfonso Soriano error and infield single in the 3rd inning, and was pretty much in beast mode from there on out.
He only gave up four hits, one in four of the first five innings, while striking out nine and walking two. The Yankees weren't many runs for him today, but that didn't matter with the way he was pitching. Tanaka is now 8-1 this season, and the eight shutout innings he technically threw lowered his ERA to a league-leading 2.06.
The Yankees didn't get on the board until Yangervis Solarte hit the Bombers' first homerun since last Sunday in Chicago with a solo shot off of Kevin Correa in the 4th inning to tie the game at 1-1. It was Solarte's 6th homerun of the season, and one of his three hits in the game -- he has five hits so far in this series against the Twins.
Prior to his homerun, the Yankees loaded the bases with nobody out in the 1st inning, but failed to score, and then put runners on first and second with one out, and yet against failed to get any runners across the plate.
The Yankees' best inning, offensively, was in the 8th inning when they scored a pair of runs to take a 3-1 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury singled with one out, then stole second base and advanced to third when the throw down to second went into center field. Brian Roberts walked to put runners on the corners, and then with the rain starting to pour down, Brian McCann ripped a double into right field to put the Yanks ahead.
After McCann's double, the rain continued to come down hard, forcing the grounds crew to put the tarp on the field, as we went into a 34-minute rain delay.
When play resumed, Solarte popped out for the second out of the 8th, then Kelly Johnson reached on an infield single to score the second run of the inning.
David Robertson came on in the 9th inning, striking out the first batter he faced, and after a Solarte error -- the Yankees' third of the game -- he struck out the next two to end the ballgame, picking up his 12th save of the season.
Mark Teixeira left after the 5th inning of today's game with soreness in his right wrist. Teixeira missed the entire three-game series in St. Louis this past week because of inflammation in the wrist, and it appears to still be bothering him, so you have to worry about when this issue will eventually subside.